STRFKR play new material, party with furries at Noise Pop

StarfuckerPhotos by Mike Frash ~ View Photo gallery below

Fresh off the release of their brand new album Miracle Mile, Starfucker sub-headlined Noise Pop Fest 2013 with a sold out and furry-friendly performance at the Regency Ballroom this past Friday night. A line wrapping around Van Ness and eager fans filled the venue to capacity during the opening set from Blackbird Blackbird. Re-visiting a familiar setting, the foursome whom played to a similar crowd back in September for Will Call’s pop up show took the stage with the confidence and casual demeanor of well-seasoned professionals.

Riding off the energy of local indie rock outfit Blackbird Blackbird’s opening set, the audience began to stir in anticipation for STRFKR to take the stage. Usually a high energy show right off the bat, people began to shuffle toward the front of the venue for better views of what would be an antic-filled stage show.

This time around though, the band had a different agenda, and took advantage of the crowd’s steadfast attention, utilizing the first half of their set to introduce their newer, more experimental tracks. Catching the audience off guard with early performances of dreamy pop songs like “Last Words,” and a crooning rendition of “Say to You,” the overtly ecstatic energy of the crowd was lulled into an ambient haze, transfixed by the band’s new material.

Starfucker3

Beyond the adjustments made to their set list, the group dynamic and their new visual stage design also showcased a higher level of professionalism. In past performances, the band’s stage presence was wrought with sarcasm and comedic undertones, but the guys took command without a hint of levity this time with their game faces on. Friday’s show was a well-manicured performance, the new LED screen with synchronized lighting certainly enhanced the experience.

Growing antsy with predetermined expectations, the crowd’s early response to STRFKR’s new material was mixed but easily appeased once the band broke into “While I’m Alive,” and subsequently the second half of the show. From there the audience exploded into a full-fledged dance party, screaming lyrics to familiar favorites off of previous releases Jupiter and Reptilians.

Highlight track’s included “Julius” and “Bury Us Alive,” and the audience was deluged with balloons from the end of the first set through the encore. The evening ended with Starfucker’s accustomed cover of “Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun,” and before that with a San Francisco fashioned performance of “Boy Toy,” accompanied by a stage full of “furries”. Finishing the night strong with a cast of characters including a giant banana, panda bear, Gumby and two dudes in skin tight body suits, STRFKR left the Noise Pop 2013 crowd satisfied and impressed.

Noise Pop preview: Indie music, film and art take over SF

Noise-Pop-2013

“I think our tag line “Championing Independent Culture” is an accurate description of what we are.” ~Julie Zielinski, Assistant Producer of Noise Pop

Written by Mike Frash & Molly Kish //

Noise Pop, an indie music festival that features emerging artists and living legends, is poised to take over 25 San Francisco venues from February 26th-March 3rd. It began as a one-night affair at The Independent 21 years ago, and has expanded to incorporate independent film and a wider range of art into the sphere of the week-long event.

The artist curation has also evolved over the years. “We’ve definitely extended Noise Pop as a concept. It started out so much as indie rock like Built to Spill and White Stripes,” said Julie Zielinski from Noise Pop headquarters. “But since we began Treasure Island Music Festival, we have expanded to electronic music and even hip hop a little bit.”

Subscribe to our Noise Pop 2013 Spotify playlist.

As you’ll see below, some of the best looking Noise Pop shows have already sold out. But fear not! You can purchase a Festival Badge, which is a super value for show hoppers & concert addicts. The badge grants access to all general admission (non-seated) shows, films, happy hours, Culture Club and other events during the festival.

Noise-Pop-2013

“We try to curate really unique shows and while we often have big headliners, it’s super important to us to have local bands and West Coast representation in all of the supporting acts.” ~Kelleyann Schilke, Noise Pop Production Coordinator

Noise Pop Headliners
toro-y-moi
Toro Y MoiFriday & Saturday March 1 & 2 @ The IndependentSOLD OUT Buy a badge

Coming off the recent release of his third studio album Anything in Return, Toro y Moi (aka Chaz Bundwick) brings the sexy to this year’s Noise Pop lineup. Bundwick is a “chill wave” innovator rooted deeply within the genres of R&B, Soul and Funk and now dance with the new LP. Toro Y Moi, Bundwick’s full band, will be heating up The Independent for two sold out nights. With support from Sinkane and Dogbite, prepare to leave a sweaty mess with no tread left on the soles on your shoes.

Best show to boogie your way into some baby making.


!!! (Chk Chk Chk)
!!! (chk chk chk)Thursday February 28 @ Great American Music HallBUY TICKETS

Kicking off the weekend early with some movement, bi-coastal dance-punk party starters Chk Chk Chk will be bringing down the house at Great American Music Hall. With their fifth studio album Thr!!!er dropping April 30, which the band describes as “auricular magic,” one can anticipate !!!’s first show of their tour to include a healthy dose of new material along with crowd favorites. Festival veterans, Chk Chk Chk know how to motivate crowds to get asses shaking. Nic Offer’s ecstatic outfit has the ability to continuously satisfy long term fans and blow the minds of first time witnesses. Combine that with the added support of three up and coming acts led by White Arrows, and this show is one not to miss.

Best show to gain a new appreciation for booty shorts and leave with some stellar dance moves.


Amon-Tobin
Amon Tobin (DJ set)Friday March 1 @ Public WorksBUY TICKETS

After a widely successful and rigorous schedule promoting his 2011 album ISAM, Amon Tobin brings his special blend of performance art & gritty beats to Public Works. His latest work, coming in the form of a Two Fingers album Vengeance Rythym and remixes of “Chaos Theroy,” is bound to be front and center at his Noise Pop performance, bringing to life his unique vision of “dub step built on an interplanetary level.” Accompanied by hard hitting openers Maus Haus, Naytronix and Group Rhonda, this show displays the diversity of Noise Pop 2013 by slapping you across the face with dirty electronic talent.

Best show to attend ready to rage and leave with enough optical stimulation to inspire the completion of your visual arts thesis.


Starfucker (STRFKR) Friday March 1 @ The RegencySOLD OUT Buy a badge

Polyvinyl darlings and favorites amongst the electro-indie scene, Starfucker (aka STRFKR) make their way back to the Regency Ballroom for one of the most anticipated shows of the Noise Pop 2013 Festival weekend! Celebrating the release of their forth LP Miracle Mile February 19, the boys took some risks with their songwriting and produced what is being hailed as their most ambitious effort to date. In addition to their infallible dance-floor-ready discography, expect to hear some of their recent successful experiments with funk, psychedelic pop and disco. Taking the stage after one of the strongest opening acts of the festival, Blackbird Blackbird, this show will leave you ready to take the city by storm (on your way to 1015 Folsom).

Best show to find yourself singing, jumping, dancing and/or making out with someone, whether you know ’em or not.


Rogue-Wave
Rogue WaveFriday March 1 @ Bottom Of The HillSOLD OUT Buy a badge

East Bay indie rockers Rogue Wave are headlining an intimate show with Wymond Mills, Mwahaha, and Brainstorm at Bottom of the Hill. On the heels of a cryptically announced LP that is in the works, this one of two shows Rogue Wave has on their touring calendar. Eager to debut new material and backed by a killer local line up, Rogue Wave play chaperone to a bar mitzvah of local Bay Area talent. Welcome back to Zach!

Rogue

Best show to avoid your ex that you see across the room. The one that stole your copy of Out of the Shadow and is still sporting your Rogue Wave T-shirt. Awkward …


YACHT
YACHTSaturday March 2 @ SlimsBUY TICKETS

YACHT began as Jona Bechtolt’s solo project, but at a live show you are more likely to have your eyes on singer Claire Evans. Evans officially made YACHT a twosome in 2008, and they haven’t looked back since. YACHT is much more than a creative duo that tours with a full band and recreates their digital sound with live instruments. YACHT is a movement, even a borderline religion. I’m not kidding.

Best show to Overcome Humanity and Become Your Own God


thermals
The ThermalsFriday March 1 @ Rickshaw StopSOLD OUT Buy a badge

The Thermals bring their infectious post-punk energy to Rickshaw Stop for Noise Pop 2013. Aiming to tear shit up with Bay Area bad asses Dirty Ghost’s, The She’s and EV Kain, this lineup is bursting with with raw talent and youth. The central core of Noise Pop is to feature bands on the rise in venues known for breaking new artists – to call attention to burgeoning talent, ya dig? Get on it!

Best show to watch a female spill her drink on you while pogo dancing, make fun of you for how ridiculous you look and buy you a shot in place of an apology.


Kim-Gordan
Body/HeadTuesday February 26 @ Rickshaw Stop • BUY TICKETS

One of the most anticipated and exciting acts of the Noise Pop 2013 line up, Body/Head has even the most seasoned of music professionals’ tongues wagging with predicative prose. Noise Pop Assistant Producer Julie Zielinski says, “We have some fun shows like Body/Head, Kim Gordon’s side project. The thing about this one is that really none of us have heard it, so it’s going to be this huge surprise.” An experimental project formed by indie rock legend and founding member of Sonic Youth Kim Gordon and free noise guitar superstar Bill Nace, this outfit is one that falls nicely into the Noise Pop realm.

Best show to arrive with absolutely no expectations, except that you are seeing a new act before everyone else.


Damien-Jurado
Damien JuradoSaturday March 2 @ The ChapelBUY TICKETS

Those with a proclivity toward singer-songwriters might want to check out Damien Jurado at San Francisco’s newest venue The Chapel in the Mission. Lately Jurado has been been releasing new records at a yearly clip, and he’s currently touring on his 2012 effort Maraqopa. Jurado is certainly an under-the-radar talent; his songs and discography greatly outweigh his overall success.

Best show to discover a hidden musical gem.


Catch Em Before They Blow Up
thao

“I’ve been with Noise Pop for about five to six years now, and I remember the first year I said ‘Wow, I don’t even really know a lot of these bands,’ and I consider myself pretty well versed. Then from the progression of Noise Pop, to SXSW to the next set of festivals you would see bands like the Fleet Foxes play second of four at the Bottom of the Hill, then all of the sudden they are on the front cover of all of these magazines. It’s interesting to see how people are able to trampoline onto the next thing.” ~Julie Zielinski, Assistant Producer of Noise Pop

Thao & The Get Down Stay DownSaturday March 2 @ Great American Music Hall
SOLD OUT Buy a badge

Thao Nguyen, the spark-plug front-woman for The Get Down Stay Down, is ready for the spotlight and even mainstream radio-play with the release of We the Common on February 5. Title track “We the Common (For Valerie Bolden)” will be a hit – and for a good reason. The track plays on multiple genres successfully, contrasting a bluegrass/jazz based-sound with synth hits, alt-rock beat transitions and poppy, Regina Spektor-like accessible lyrics. By the time the refrain kicks in (“Whooo-a-hooo, haha), it becomes easy to speculate that Thao and The Get Down Stay Down could have a big year.

Ty-Segall-Fuzz
FUZZFriday March 1 @ The KnockoutSOLD OUT Buy a badge

When Trouble in Mind Records received an anonymous submission by a heavy psych rock band last year, the mystery of FUZZ was born in a wall of sound. When the veil was raised, it turned out to be Ty Segall and his long-time collaborator Charlie Moothart were the creators of this new ruckus. The plot thickened when it was learned that Ty was manning the drumkit while Moothart banged out riffs heavy enough to make Sabbath blush. Bongs across America rattled as this is no average stoner rock band. The vocals are unmistakably Segall, which couldn’t fit the limited tracks any better.

Having the pleasure of seeing this band at tiny Hemlock Tavern got me excited that this was not a waste of Segall’s increasingly valuable time and effort. Having known that Ty is competent on all instruments lends perfect sense to him truly wanting to try it all, and sooner than later.
-Kevin Quandt

DIIVFriday & Saturday March 1 & 2 @ Brick & Mortar Music HallSOLD OUT Buy a badge

Beach Fossil’s Zachary Cole Smith released a whopper of a solo effort in 2012 under the aquatic-name, DIIV (Dive). Heavy on the reverb and not lacking any quality of pop shoe-gaze mentality, DIIV’s sound has a way of grabbing you and holding on as the infectious guitar hooks play over and over in your skull. Apparently the secret is out, as two Noise Pop shows sold out rather quickly. The attention is deserved.

Nosaj-Thing
Nosaj ThingThursday February 21 @ California Academy of Sciences

Nosaj Thing produces subtle yet contemporary beauty at it’s finest. It was well worth the wait for Jason Chung’s new album Home under his Nosaj Thing monicker, as this fresh batch of progressive down-beat tracks is full of his unique sound. Nosaj Thing is headlining the weekly California Academy of Sciences Nightlife February 21, the Thursday before Noise Pop week.

Scene-Unseen
Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, Young Magic Scene Unseen II • Friday March 1 @ 1015 FolsomFree with RSVP

Did you see all the sick shows happening Friday March 1st? The place to be afterwards will be at 1015 Folsom, where Washed Out (Ernest Greene) and Toro Y Moi (Chazwick Bundick) spin at this free after-party.

Culture-Club-Logo

“The Culture Club, it is what all of these musicians and artists do outside of just making music…” ~Kelleyann Schilke

Culture Club Presented by Bay Bridged • Saturday @ Swedish American Music HallBUY TICKETS

Culture Club, now in its third year of celebrating this process and DIY spirit, gives you the rare opportunity to see and hear your favorite artists in the music, film, art, design, food and technology communities show in an interactive way how, why and what inspires them in creating their work(s). In addition to talks and unique performances, there are hands-on opportunities for participants to delve into their own creativity as well. Culture Club creates an all-around immersive experience to get in touch with your favorite creatives on a deeper and more insightful level.

“One thing we’re highlighting this year is Olek, who is a famous crochet artist that does “crochet bombing.” She’s going to come in a teach crochet workshops and talk about that aspect of public movement which is pretty cool.”

“Also highlighting music, we’ll be featuring Dust & Grooves: For the Love of Vinyl, whom are going to come in and take photographs of local musicians and their record collections, then talk about how people are influenced by music and how vinyl has continued to effect really popular music. The concept itself is really just to highlight how much music really effects artistic movement and movement in the world.” ~Kelleyann Schilke

Culture-Club

Noise-Pop-Film
Noise Pop Film SeriesBuy a film series badge

See a Little Light: A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould
Q&A with director Justin Mitchell & Bob’s manager Jordan Kurland
February 27 / Roxie Theater / 9 p.m. / $10

Last November at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, some of today’s most influential artists gathered to celebrate the music of Bob Mould. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Britt Daniel (Spoon), Ryan Adams, No Age, Craig Finn and Tad Kubler (The Hold Steady), Margaret Cho with Grant Lee Phillips, and Jessica Dobson (The Shins, Deep Sea Diver) all performed songs from Bob’s historic catalog. Fortunately, the entire evening was captured in stunning audio and high-quality video quality by filmmaker Justin Mitchell. Justin and his camera crew followed Bob and the other artists meticulously throughout their day catching the rehearsals, preparation, interactions—and of course the night’s unforgettable performances.

“We also have a lot of great films I’m excited about like See a Little Light, A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould. Shepard Fairey is going to be there as well as Jordan Kirland, our boss in honor. Also the Bad Brains film, I’m excited about that as well.” ~Julie Zielinski

Noise-Pop-Art

Strom Thorgerson & Hipgnosis Taken by Storm: Iconic Album Art
Pre-screening Reception: Thursday, February 28, 2013 / 5–8 p.m.
San Francisco Art Exchange; February 28th-March 16th

For over 40 years using album covers as his canvas, Storm Thorgerson has created some of the most iconic images in the history of music from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, Peter Gabriel, Black Sabbath, Paul McCartney to Biffy Clyro, Muse, The Mars Volta—in fact possibly 80% of your classic vinyl collection! Eschewing digital manipulation in favor of building massive sets and tableaus, staging performances and actions and ‘doing it for real’, Storm has deliriously confounded expectations of the relation of images and music, hyperrealism and the everyday, and the role of the record sleeve at the intersection of art and commerce.

Taken by Storm, with Storm Thorgerson is really being hyped and will be accompanied by a champagne toast down at the SF Art Exchange downtown, which has the world’s largest collection of Rock and Roll Art, which is really neat as well and such an honor to have that as part of the festival.” ~Kelleyann Schilke

San Francisco Rocks! Noise Pop & Treasure Island Photography (2007–2012)
Opening: Thursday, February 7, 2013 / 7 p.m.
Festival Reception: February 26th, 2013 / 5 p.m. / Hotel Biron

In the past five years Noise Pop has brought the Bay Area some incredible live music from local bands. And, while most of us were just getting off on the music itself, a select group of some of the world’s best music photographers were taking some spectacular shots of these shows. This exhibition is a rare treat as we get a unique look at what’s been happening onstage here in our own backyard over the past half a decade.

TIMF

Showbams’ best shows of 2012

Showbams contributors name their favorite shows of 2012.

Showbam contributors reflect on the best concerts they went to in 2012 & list their favorite shows.

2012 has been a top-notch year for live music, and the Showbams team has witnessed some great acts that have come through California in the last 11 months. Take a look at our contributor’s favorite shows of 2012.

What was your favorite concert in 2012? Let us know in the comments below.

The xx at Treasure Island Music Festival

The xx at Treasure Island Music Festival


Mike Frash San Francisco

1. Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands Music Festival 8.11.12
Leaving Metallica for Sigur Ros to end the second day at Outside Lands was a torturous decision. Metallica was a warzone spectacle, but i stuck to my guns and headed to the Twin Peaks stage. I’m glad I did. Jonsi now conducts a mini orchestra, and the eerie SF fog lowered on command to the slow builds & crescendos. It was a spiritual show that effected me more than any other concert in 2012.

2. Japandroids @ The Independent 6.14.12
Brian King and David Prowse brought ecstatic energy to the sold out Independent in June the week after Celebration Rock was released. Brian King understands how to control the pace of his set, offering fun pre-song statements that prepare you for what’s next. Their songs are vibrant live – it doesn’t sound like only two people are playing instruments. They truly seem to live the life they glorify on their 2012 album – still drinking, still smokin, and full of hyperactive desperation.

3. Phish Night 3 @ Bill Grahm Civic Auditorium 8.19.12
The highly anticipated phish three-show SF run in August started off a bit slowly. Saturday’s show left me a little bummed about Phish due to some sloppy play (“Split open and melt”) and what felt like a lack of enthusiasm. I was questioning why I still see Phish live heading into the last show of the weekend. My lowered expectations combined with a killer show quashed those thoughts. Crosseyed > Light > Sneakin’ Sally > Crosseyed was some of the best Phish I’ve ever heard, “Boogie on” redeemed Stevie Wonder’s omission of the song at Outside Lands the week before, “Meatstick” made me really happy, and the San Francisco-mentioning “Ride Captain Ride” made a surprise encore appearance. The show was pure bliss.

4. The Rapture @ Coachella 4.13.12
5. The xx @ Treasure Island Music Festival 10.14.12
6. The Presets @ The Independent 10.12.12
7. STS9 @ High Sierra Music Festival 7.5.12 & 7.6.12
8. Head and the Heart @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 10.6.12
9. Tame Impala @ The Fillmore 11.15.12
10. My Morning Jacket @ The Greek 9.15.12

Honorable Mention:
Father John Misty at Jansport Bonfire 9.30.12
Of Monsters & Men at The Independent 3.22.12

My Morning Jacket performing at The Wiltern in September

My Morning Jacket performing at The Wiltern in September


Pete Mauch Los Angeles

1. My Morning Jacket @ The Wiltern 9.13.12
MMJ capped off the best 3-night run I saw this year with this stellar closing show complete with a Horn section. This is a big statement for a band I knew I loved but wasn’t fully convinced about until this night. Highlight: “All Night Long” & “Movin On Up” with Horns

2. Phish @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 8.19.12
Phish played a terrific 3-night run, and topped off by an amazing Sunday night show that proves that Phish is still top of the Jam Scene. Highlight: Light > Sneakin Sally Through the Alley

3. Ryan Adams @ Walt Disney Concert Hall 2.17.12
Ryan Adams, an acoustic Guitar, and a Piano is all this show contained, and it was truly special. Adams’ classic songs stripped down with his raspy croons is all I needed to make this a top show of the year. Highlight: “Rescue Blues” on Piano “Holy Diver” on Guitar

4. Trey Anastasio and LA Philharmonic @ Walt Disney Concert Hall 3.10.12
5. Neil Young and Crazy Horse @ the Hollywood Bowl 10.17.12
6. Charles Bradley and The Menahan Street Band @ UCLA Royce Hall 11.29.12
7. Radiohead @ Coachella Music Festival 4.21.12
8.Trombone Shorty @ the Key Club 2.11.12
9. Wilco @ the Palladium 1.24.12
10. New Multitudes (Tribute to Woody Guthrie) @ the Mayan Theatre 3.7.12

Honorable Mention:
Phish at Long Beach Arena 8.15.12
String Cheese Incident at Greek Theatre Berkeley 7.14.12
Roger Waters The Wall at the LA Coliseum 5.21.12
Umphreys Mcgee (True Hollywood Stories Acoustic Show) at the House of Blues 3.16.12

The Faint performing in November at The Regency Ballroom

The Faint performing in November at The Regency Ballroom

Molly Kish San Francisco

1. Radiohead @ HP Pavilion 4.12.12
After merely catching glimpses of them while shoved against thousands of festivalgoers at Outside Lands 2008, I was determined to catch Radiohead the next time they came through the Bay Area. The sound, visuals, performance and energy of the evening were electrifying. Although I was extremely lucky to have been viewing the concert from the sixth row, the entire crowd looked as though they were just as lost in the moment as I was. The band’s enigmatic stage presence, fully developed set composition and career spanning choice of material made for one of the most collectively impressive concert experiences that I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of.

2. Kishi Bashi/Of Montreal @ Slim’s 3.22.12
As a long time Of Montreal fan, I was ecstatic to get the opportunity to interview their opening act and latest addition to the line up (Kishi Bashi) the night of their performance at Slim’s. It wasn’t only for the sake of getting a personal perspective on the band, but also due to the fact that this would actually be my first time catching them performing live. The entire show and evening that followed was everything I could’ve wanted for my first experience seeing Of Montreal. Accompanied by three screens of psychedelic visuals, various costumed extras, balloon drops, props and whole score of vaudevillian rivalry, the band took the crowd and venue by storm. During the encore to top it off, I was able to reconnect with Kishi Bashi and ended up initiating an after-party with the entire band, crew and record label affiliates at an industrial themed “dark carnival,” taking place across the street at local dive bar Butter. Several jello shots, deep fried twinkies and contortionist carnie-prompted dance battles later, I looked around and felt assured that I had enough material to develop my own personal “Of Montreal” concert story contender.

3. The Presets @ Treasure Island Music Festival 10.13.12
Completely blown away by their performance the night before, I was overwhelmed with excitement and intrigue to see how the Presets could accomplish translating such energy to a festival setting. Anyone who had caught their Treasure Island Music Festival opener at the Independent instantly was taken over by sensory recall as they broke into song almost right where they left us hanging less than 24 hours earlier. Almost in homage to those who witnessed them destroy their previous set, they picked the dance party up right where they left off, only this time kicking it up about ten notches with the accompanied stage show, visual intensity and professional grade sound of seasoned professionals. Completely upstaging their more commercially recognized headliner and showing the younger generation how it should be done, they stole the show and were easily the stand out act of the 2012 TIMF. To this day I still find myself saying that I wish I could continually be going to a Presets show, based off of the concert experience I had at these two performances.

4. Dan Deacon @ The Great American Music Hall 10.23.12
5. Against Me! @ The Catalyst 9.10.12
6. The Faint @ The Regency Ballroom 11.18.12
7. Justice @ The Fox 11.4.2
8. Metallica @ Outside Lands 8.10.12
9. Animal Collective @ The Fox 9.21.12
10.The Shins @ The Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium 4.22.12

Honorable Mention:
Yeah Yeah Yeah’s @ The Creator’s Project SF 3.17.12
Cold War Kids @ The Bottom of the Hill 3.5.12
Dr. John @ The Independent 8.17.12
Girl Talk @ Sasquatch 5.25.12

David Byrnes & St. Vincent performing in

David Byrnes & St. Vincent performing in October

Kevin Raos San Francisco

1. David Byrne & St. Vincent @ the Orpheum Theater 10.15.12
This is my number one show of 2012 for a couple of reasons. First off, Love this Giant, the recently released collaborative album between Byrne and St. Vincent, was a major disappointment. One of my most anticipated albums of the year ended up being one of the most disappointing. All was redeemed, however, when I saw these songs performed live. The accompanying brass band and the chemistry on stage breathed new life into was I felt was a stale album. Playfully executed and precisely choreographed, these songs shined live.

Secondly, I am a huge David Byrne fan and was able to check a big one off my bucket list of musical artists. Byrne’s career needs no introduction and this evening we were treated to a few Talking Head’s classics such as “Burning Down the House,” “This Must Be the Place,” and “Like Humans Do.”

This show was simply a once in a lifetime experience.

2. Phish @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 8.19.12
A three night run at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was capped off with a masterful performance by jamband kings, Phish. The final night of the run was easily the best night as the band flexed their improvisational muscles in a blistering 2-set performance, highlighted by covers of the Talking Heads’ “Crosseyed and Painless” and Robert Palmer’s “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley.”

3. Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands 8.11.12
Sigur Ros on my birthday to cap off an unbelievable festival day? How could it possibly get any better? It can’t really.

4. Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang @ Terrapin Crossroads – San Rafael 10.4.12
5. Keller Williams, Steve Kimock & Kyle Hollingsworth ft. Bernie Worrell, Wally Ingram & Andy Hess @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival 10.7.12
6. Miike Snow / Penguin Prison @ Fox Theater Oakland 4.12.12
7. Washed Out @ Mezzanine 5.4.12
8. Electric Guest @ The Independent 11.2.12
9. The Album Leaf / Blackbird Blackbird @ Bottom of the Hill 9.30.12
10. Citizens! Lescop, Housse de Racket, Tomorrow’s World @ The Rickshaw Stop 10.12.12

Honorable Mentions:
Zee Avi @ New Parish 9.28.12
M83 @ The Fillmore 4.22.12

Japandroids performing in 2012

Japandroids performing in 2012

Eric Shaden San Francisco

1. D’Angelo @ HOB – Los Angeles 7.4.12

2. Passion Pit @ Rock en Seine – Paris 8.26.12

3. Starfucker @ the Independent 1.7.12

4. Stevie Wonder @ Outside Lands 8.12.12
5. Miike Snow + Penguin Prison @ The Fox Oakland 4.12.12
6. A.Skillz + Krafty Kuts Presents Tricka Technology @ Mighty 6.1.12
7. Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) @ the Independent 10.19.12
8. Japandroids @ the Independent 6.14.12
9. Guns n’ Roses @ Bridge School Benefit 10.21.12
10. Kid Koala Vinyl Vaudeville Tour @ Independent 11.4.12

The Lumineers performing at The Chapel in August

The Lumineers performing at The Chapel in August

Marc Fong San Francisco
1. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros @ Slim’s 3.25.12
It’s not often I gush like a school girl (only about once or twice a week), but seeing ESatMZ at Slim’s was panty dropping. Can I say that? Well, I just did. It was a secret/private show so Slim’s was overcrowded. I stood center stage close enough to see the dirt on Alexander’s suit. The sound was great and the band always puts on a damn fine show.

2. The Lumineers @ The Chapel 10.11.12
LIVE 105 brought the Lumineers to newly opened Chapel in SF and the band didn’t disappoint. The venue was the perfect size for the band and like most of the other bands on this list, the Lumineers had fun playing and it made for a great show.

3. Kronos Quartet @ Greek Theater 10.5.12
Okay, it was really Amon Tobin’s deal, but Kronos opened and performed beautifully. Being a long time fan, it’s not a surprise these openers made my list. Great music from great performers. And The Greek Theater in Berkeley was the best venue to see them. (And most other shows.)

4. Willie Nelson and Family @ The Fox Oakland 3.15.12
5. Of Monsters and Men @ Independent 5.22.12
6. Fun. @ The Independent 5.28.12
7. Sage Francis @ Independent 3.17.12
8. Steve Aoki @ Bill Graham 1.21.12
9. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros @ The Fox Oakland 5.12.12
10. AVICII @ Bill Graham Civic 6.28.12

Tame Impala at The Fillmore in November

Tame Impala at The Fillmore in November

Kevin Quandt San Francisco

1. The Walkmen @ The Independent January 20th & 21st
These 10th Anniversary shows were a Walkmen fan’s wet dream as they played their first album in full among multiple sets and configurations including a horn section. Over 30 songs of Hamilton Leithauser and company churning out their own brand of rock and roll to devote fans from across the States.

2. Refused with the Hives & the Bronx @ The Warfield 4.18.12
Having seen their Coachella show a week prior, the anticipation was less palpable, yet the reigning post-punk champs delighted a more rowdy and dedicated crowd with a spirited set for the masses who patiently waited a decade to witness.

3. Trey Anastasio and The Los Angeles Philharmonic @ Walt Disney Concert Hall 3.10.12
Dressing up for a show is fun, especially when Trey is at the helm of philharmonic symphony in one of the best rooms to hear, and see, music in. From the playful rendition of “Guyute” to the half hour “Time Turns Elasctic,” this night had the packed concert hall re-charmed by Ernest and his recharged song book.

4. Tame Impala @ The Fillmore 11.15.12
5. Phish @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 8.19.12
6. Woods and White Fence @ The Chapel at Preservation Hall West 10.17.12
7. Howlin Rain @ The Independent 2.18.12
8. Radiohead @ The Santa Barbara Bowl 4.12.12
9. Father John Misty & Har Mar Superstar @ Bottom of the hill 5.5.12
10.Mala @ Yoshi’s San Francisco 6.23.12

Festival sets:
Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands 8.11.12
Future Islands @ FYF 9.1.12
Flying Lotus @ Coachella 4.14.12

Justice performing at The Warfield in November

Justice performing at The Warfield in November

Sean Little San Francisco

1. Justice @ The Warfield 11.4.12
What else is there to say about Justice that hasn’t already been said. They came, they saw, and they melted faces with an amazing set the blew fans away and converted first timers alike. At least half my friends decided to go last minute (tickets were still available because it was a Sunday) and all of them became huge fans. Some of these friends are not into electronic music of any kind either, so that really says something. It was one of those rare shows where you leave euphoric and can’t stop saying “wow” to the people you went with.

2. Florence & the Machine @ Coachella 4.15.12
The only other performer I’ve ever seen that commanded an audience like Florence did was Snoop Dogg back in 02 at the Smoke Out (stop-you’re not better than me so put that eyebrow back down). It was one of the rare festival sets where everyone felt really in tune with the performer and each other, singing along and knowing when to interact with each other and the songs. She was absolutely amazing, and the set was a dark horse highlight to my festival as I didn’t expect her to command the audience like she did. She’s truly a presence.

2ManyDJ’s @ Regency Ballroom
I saw them about this time last year but fuck it, it still counts. If you have never seen them live then go. Even if you don’t like electronic, go. Even if you hate music go. If you want to be schooled in what real DJs as performers can do, you have to go. They blend the most amazing remixes, edits, mashups and drops all together with a mindblowing set of animated artwork, based on the song that is being played behind them. I won’t even try to explain because it won’t work.